Your life runs by in a hurry. In three acts, you were born, you mature, and you’ll die. Beginning, middle, and end. Classic story structure, and what really counts is what you do on your runway of life. Especially with the time you have left.
A few things brought on this post.
One—my brother recently passed away. He was sixty-nine, and there was no warning. It was a brain aneurysm which is a pre-existing condition that’s nearly impossible to detect or intervene with.
Two—I turned sixty-six yesterday. That milestone, along with my brother’s sudden death, made me reflect on what time I have left. The events put into perspective an urgency I have in continuing important tasks.
Three—I received a newsletter from Dr. Peter Legge where he outlined the Runway of Life. In a three-minute video, Dr. Legge gave me an “ah-ha” moment. I’d like to pass it along to my friends at the Kill Zone.
Peter Legge is a well-known force in Vancouver. He’s a highly accomplished entrepreneur, author, speaker, publicist, and community leader. Dr. Legge is also a motivator and personal mentor to many folks, regulars and high achievers.
The Runway of Life is a concept. It’s an abstract, yet crystal clear, look at where you’ve come from, where you are, and where you’ll end. Not when you’ll end—that’s something we don’t know so, for this exercise, we’ll make up a number.
In the video, Dr. Legge draws a horizontal line in black ink on a white background. The line represents your runway of life—your life’s timeline. On the left, he draws a zero. This represents the day you were born.
Somewhere along, he draws a figure for his age. Dr. Legge is currently eighty, so he dots an 8-0. This shows since birth to today he’s gone 80 points on his runway of life.
His final figure is hypothetical because there’s no way he, or anyone else, can know the age he’ll die at. Dr. Legge qualifies that and says for this exercise the death number doesn’t matter. “It could be eighty. It could be a hundred. But for this demonstration I’ll put down ninety.”
So, Dr. Legge jots 9-0 at the right side of his runway. Clearly, he’s used up 80 years of his life’s runway, and he expects to have 10 years left.
“Zero to eighty are gone. They’re history and they’re past.” Not so with the remaining ten still on the runway. It’s what you do with the remaining time on your runway of life that now matters.
I drew a runway of life for myself. I started at zero like everyone else. I have sixty-six around three-quarters to the right. And I picked ninety as my cash-out number. I base that life expectancy on my genealogy which has had some pretty old birds in the family tree.
I realize my brother’s last number was only sixty-nine. However, there’s a big medical difference between my brother and me. He was a heavy smoker, and I’ve never touched the stuff. Cigarette smoke is the most significant modifiable risk for cerebral aneurysm. Heart attack / myocardial infarct as well.
My runway of life looks like this:
I’ve used 66 years which is 792 months, 23,760 days, and 570,240 hours. If my calculator is right, I have 24 years left on my runway of life—288 months, 8,640 days, and 207,360 hours.
It’s what I do with those remaining years, months, days, and hours that count going forward. I have no idea what the right, right number is on my runway of life. It could be a lot lower. So, I’m moving ahead making every day matter.
I’m doing two primary things. One is keep creating content, and keep learning how to do it, for the entertainment industry (aka being a writer). The other is enjoying time with my family and friends, especially out on our boat.
And if I blend the best of both worlds, like I’m doing right now, I’ll write and learn from the chart table in my wheelhouse till I’m buried at sea by my family and friends, hopefully well past one hundred.
Kill Zoners — Have you given any thought to your runway of life? Care to share an urgency?